Tuesday 23 October 2018

En Vogue’s Terry Ellis: Women have been singing about prejudice for years

The R&B star labelled the music industry ‘male-driven’.

Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron-Braggs and Rhona Bennett are heading to the UK on tour. (En Vogue)
Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron-Braggs and Rhona Bennett are heading to the UK on tour. (En Vogue)

By Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

En Vogue star Terry Ellis has said women have been speaking about prejudice and harassment for a long time without being understood.

The R&B star – an original member of the hit group – claimed stories of harassment were only now getting attention because women were discussing it outside of their music.

Ellis, 54, labelled the music industry “male driven” and said women who spoke out in their music were often misunderstood or ignored.

She heads to the UK and Ireland with Cindy Herron-Braggs and Rhona Bennett for an En Vogue Live Nation tour next month.

The US singer said neither she nor her bandmates had experienced any harassment or assault, “unless someone hasn’t told me”.

Asked about the wave of the Time’s Up movement across the entertainment industry, she told the Press Association: “The music industry has always been male-driven.

“But I think we as women because of the medium itself … we have always been able to speak out … Writing a song is a medium through which you can write about your life experiences.

“Women have written about it and people just viewed it as just a song and not really understood or paid attention to what was being said,” she said, adding: “As opposed to someone having more of a tragic experience and speaking about it on a panel or in the news.”

Ellis cited En Vogue’s 1992 track Free Your Mind which attacks racism and prejudice as an example of the group using their platform.

“Each one of those verses was a personal experience, each one had experienced prejudice as black women. And so we wrote about it and we were shouting loudly through our music about our personal experiences with that,” she said.

She added: “It’s always been important for us to execute strong, powerful, self-empowerment messages in our music.

“We do represent women, whether we like it or not, when you have a platform such as this you do become someone’s role model. And it’s always been important for us to have something of substance to say.”

The group worked with Ne-Yo and Snoop Dogg on their first album in 14 years, Electric Cafe, which was produced by longtime collaborators Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy.

Ellis said it retained the “signature En Vogue sound and signature En Vogue harmonies” alongside an eclectic mix of music.

En Vogue’s UK tour starts on Thursday April 5.

Press Association

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